The verdict of the Hon’ble High Court of Manipur dated 18.10.2019 came down heavily on the Manipur Public Service Commission for failing to perform its duty, and instead conducting namesake exams using half baked rules. If MPSC a constitutional body, was indeed worthy of its constitutional mandate it would responsibly make its choices after the verdict. Mend its way and try sincerely to regain public confidence by complying with the directions made in the verdict. But nothing that indicates any change of path has happened. That would have been understandable if and only if MPSC had decided to fight the verdict and stand its ground that it has done nothing wrong. But no that is not the case either. MPSC only wants to go on undisturbed, and keep doing what is does. Which is why it only wants the CBI investigation to not be conducted, even when the MCSCCE 2016 stands quashed and all selected candidates terminated for the faults attributable only to the MPSC.
Some reasons why MPSC’s MCSCCE 2016 was quashed includes; not having a separate Controller of Examinations, not having proper rules of evaluation, non adoption of moderation and scaling, and as the inquiry committee revealed many answer scripts were not signed by supervisor, alteration of without signature of examiner (although not on the front tabulation sheet) etc. At one glance it is staggering but put some thought in, and one will realize that these are all responsibilities of the MPSC and not the candidates. Candidates are only supposed to write their correct Roll. No at the allotted space only and now where else, and attempt the questions.
It needs to be pointed out that for reasons best known only to the MPSC, in its history it has never appointed a Controller of Examination since its inception until 2019, all examinations conducted prior to 2019 had no controller of examination. It has also conducted various examinations under the half baked rules, while it may be argued that Supervisors don’t usually sign answer scripts in various other examinations by other bodies as well, MPSC’s half baked rules appeared to be silent on that as well.
Thus how long was MPSC intending to hoodwink the public? The judgement itself had noted that MPSC would like to continue holding exams with half baked rules that it can manipulate, like it has been doing for the past many years. All these only points towards MPSC as the sole offender. Therefore the demand of the public should be penalty for the MPSC at the earliest. Here DESAM, ANSAM, AIMS (“Punish the culprits and clean up MPSC call Sounded”. The Sangai Express dated 03.11.2020) were spot on, and deserving of mass support. Apathy of the public towards the misdeeds of MPSC would only embolden it to continue doing so. Mentions may be made that MPSC has currently no serving member and it is also said that the Chairman is set to retire within this month. Yet it has already notified the re-exam of MCSCCE 2016 Mains. It should not be forgotten that the notification for MCSCCE 2019 still lies in a limbo after having collected application fees from numerous applicants.
So then, as the exam was quashed, at the moment it is only the selected candidates who are facing livelihood challenge, opportunities lost, lost of repudiation and dignity, mental trauma and public slandering leading to stigmatization, it is painful to even think of the circumstances they are in, marooned and despised for no particular fault of their own. They seem to have been assumed guilty, which we will only known after the CBI investigation report comes. Therefore is very important that the society as a whole realize that whether the candidates were guilty or not, the exam conducting body i.e. the MPSC is is the prime offender, and hence it is not right to direct public ire towards the terminated officers of MCSCCE 2016 batch, it is high time to realize that they are victims and as things stand they should be right recognized as collateral damage. Here it is appropriate to quote Late Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer ‘Society is guilty if anyone suffers unjustly’.
Pauliansaun Touthang is a civil service aspirant based in New Delhi. Views are personal.